January 14 2012
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Using a new big mallet putter on Thursday, Brendon de Jonge needed 32 putts en route to shooting a 1-over 71.
Overnight, he decided to switch back to the normal-sized putter that he had used last year. Result? An 8-under 62 in Friday's second round in which he needed just 24 putts.
De Jonge said he tried the mallet putter in Wednesday's pro-am and made a couple of nice putts, so he decided to put it in his bag.
"And then obviously yesterday made absolutely nothing," said de Jonge, who ranked 134th in the field in Strokes Gained-Putting in the first round. "Hit the ball similar to how I hit it today. The putter was just the difference."
A big difference. De Jonge's 62 was just two strokes shy of tying the tournament record of 60 by Davis Love III in 1994.
Having corrected the problem, de Jonge is in good shape entering the weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. At 7 under for the tournament, he'll be among the last players to tee off in Saturday's third round.
In 2008, de Jonge was voted the Nationwide Tour's Player of the Year. In his 91 TOUR starts since then, he's had 14 top-10 finishes.
Although he's given himself chances to win on several occasions -- at the 2010 Viking Classic, he was the co-leader through the first 36 holes and tied for second entering the final round before finishing tied for third -- he has yet to seal the deal.
Maybe this week?
"I've given myself a lot of really good chances to win," he said. "I feel like I'm getting closer and closer."